Thursday, October 30, 2008

jane-quotes 10/30

jane has these cassette tapes of old sunday school songs that she listens to in the car. they actually sound like old children's musicals from church. there is this one song based on philippians 4:13 with the lyrics, "i can do all things through christ who gives me strength."
yesterday we were driving and listening to this song and i heard jane quietly say from the backseat,
"sometimes he gives me strength too!"
"me too!" i answered.

Monday, October 27, 2008

lectio-divina:: the book of job

I just finished reading through the book of job.
as I read through it this time, I come away with some reflections:

God was never angry with job, although all of his friends thought that He was. God was actually proud of job. that’s why He mentioned him to satan in the first place. and that brings up another reflection: we assume that if something bad happens, then God is angry. when 9/11 hit, we assumed that God was angry with America. when the earthquake hit china, Sharon stone got in trouble for suggesting that it was karma for their involvement in Tibet. when Katrina hit, all kind of people were saying that this was God’s judgment against new orleans’ wild living. and when job lost everything in a day, his friends assumed that God was judging him for some sin- but God wasn’t. God was thrilled with job. what if we did not assume that God was angry the next time a crisis hits? isn’t it interesting how FEW people feel that this current financial crisis is NOT God’s judgment against America and her greed?

something else: for the advice-givers-
job’s friends seem to be great guys. they come and stay with him while he is going through a rough time. they sit silently and listen to him for days. then they start telling him what they think about the whole thing. some of the things that they say are inspirational and sound so true- but they are not. what they say sounds true, and feels true, but its not true. they are convinced that what has happened to job is because of his sin. they are certain that job’s troubles are the result of God’s anger and judgment- but they’re not. job didn’t sin- and God wasn’t angry with him. at the end of the book, God says to job’s friend eliphaz, “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant job has.” he tells them to go to job and ask him to pray for them. God doesn’t like it when we don’t speak accurately about Him- it makes Him angry. we do it all the time. we rattle off ideas that sound right and feel right, but they aren’t right at all. and it doesn’t help. we interact with people going through pain and we give unsolicited advice about why its happening- but those words can be reckless. when we interact with a hurting person- we need to consider our words carefully. the way we speak accurately about God is to be aware of how He has revealed Himself in scripture.

so if God wasn’t angry with job, and if job didn’t sin? why is he suffering? job can’t see the entire picture. neither can we when we suffer. God wanted to glorify Himself and He wanted to reveal the strength of job’s character. those are both wonderful things to be a part of. what if we had that attitude when we are going through a trial? thinking that, “maybe God is glorifying Himself right now” or “maybe God wants to reveal what is buried within my character and help others?”

when satan first comes to God he says that job only worships God because God has blessed him- take away the blessing, and the worship will end. could that be said of me? of you? of America? we might get to find out.

chapters 38-41 of job are some of my very favorite in all of scripture. before those chapters are talk-talk-talk. job’s speeches, his friend’s speeches, job’s questions, his friend’s answers- and then in chapter 38, “the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind.” I love how the NIV translates God’s opening line, “who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” God goes into question after question about who created the majesty of creation. God goes into detail about how He created sunsets, stars, oceans, continents and animals. He goes on and on about donkeys and ostriches. He mentions wild goats and oxes in the same speech as sunlight. its like an ancient version of “planet earth.” God was fascinated by creation long before the discovery channel was. if He delights in creation shouldn’t we?

last bit- I found this encouraging- job 5:17-ff

“but consider the joy of those corrected by God!
Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.
For though he wounds, he also bandages.
He strikes, but his hands also heal.
From six disasters he will rescue you;
even in the seventh, he will keep you from evil.
He will save you from death in time of famine,
from the power of the sword in time of war.
You will be safe from slander
and have no fear when destruction comes.
You will laugh at destruction and famine;
wild animals will not terrify you.
You will be at peace with the stones of the field,
and its wild animals will be at peace with you.
You will know that your home is safe.
When you survey your possessions, nothing will be missing.
You will have many children;
your descendants will be as plentiful as grass!
You will go to the grave at a ripe old age,
like a sheaf of grain harvested at the proper time!

“We have studied life and found all this to be true.
Listen to my counsel, and apply it to yourself.”
good job eliphaz.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

children's show theology:: entry 04

I was in Walgreens this morning, and I saw some Winnie-the-pooh candy where pooh was dressed up like a ghost and tigger was dressed up like the devil. the devil?! he had a pitchfork, a cape, horns and a forked tail. it made me think how far disney has allowed a.a. milne’s characters to deviate from milne’s original creation.

when jane was a baby, her favorite dvd was “the many adventures of Winnie the pooh.” one day I decided to watch the making of it, and learned much about the character and his author. pooh bear started out as bedtime stories to the original christopher robin. these evolved into children’s books, which walt disney’s children loved. when walt acquired the rights to the character, he wanted to make sure that he stayed true to the books. in walt’s cartoons, pooh bear is actually animated into a book. he’s often seen jumping over pages and text. all of the original cartoons were inspired by a.a. milne’s stories.

the last chapter in “the many adventures of Winnie the pooh” has christopher robin going away to school and the story ending; but the story didn’t end. disney continued to create pooh bear stories- all of them not written by milne, and most of them not including christopher robin. they also introduced new characters into the hundred acre wood, and evolved many of the existing ones. to me that always seemed strange that they would make a movie or a cartoon that was not originally imagined by milne, or use characters that were not created by milne.

there is a new show on the disney channel called “my friend tigger and pooh.” jane loves it. its about a new friend named darby and her dog, buster. she, pooh and tigger form a team called the super-sleuths and the solve mysteries. I enjoy the show, but I have some problems with it. number 1, they use modern technology in it, like darby’s razor-scooter. second, christopher robin appears in the show! he’s back from school! but pooh does not spend his time with christopher, he spends his time with darby! this makes no sense to me at all.

and it reminds me of what I see all the time in Christianity. we started out, much like disney did. we wanted to stick to the book. we wanted to be true to the original text, and to its original hero, jesus Himself. but as times change, we allow things to evolve to suit our purposes. we let jesus evolve into an American or a republican, or a social activist, or a hippie, or even a politician. we take his words out of context to confirm our caricature of jesus.

I’m a purist. with Winnie the pooh, for sure, but when it comes to jesus, definitely. if all the pooh bear fans really want to know milne’s stories,, they should go get a copy of “now we are six,” and any other of milne’s books. and if we want to know jesus, we need to meditate on the words of matthew, mark, luke and john.

disney made a joke about how strictly he was sticking to milne’s stories. he introduced a new character into the story named gopher. One of the first lines Gopher utters during his first appearance in the Disney cartoon is: "I'm not in the book". He is referring to the fact that he is not in the phone book, but this is actually referring to the fact that he was not in any of the original stories by milne. in one story, he zooms off under ground leaving the other characters puzzled. pooh says, “well, he’s not in the book you know…”

what if we had the kind of radar for spotting false caricatures of jesus and were able to say of inaccurate portrayals of jesus, ““well, he’s not in the book you know…”

Friday, October 17, 2008

jane-quotes 10/17

the other day i was standing in line at burger king and holding jane. i was ordering her kid’s meal and answering questions, “like for here or to go?” when jane blurted out,
i found myself in one of those situations where i want to turn and look, but i know that i shouldn’t.
i ignored her and kept talking to the burger king person.
but jane just kept it up.
i slowly turned around to see a nice, bald man cracking up.
he said, “i didn’t lose it, its just cut really short.”

yeah right buddy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

job 20- NLT

Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
2 “I must reply because I am greatly disturbed.
3 I’ve had to endure your insults, but now my spirit prompts me to reply.
4 “Don’t you realize that from the beginning of time,
ever since people were first placed on the earth,
5 the triumph of the wicked has been short lived
and the joy of the godless has been only temporary?
6 Though the pride of the godless reaches to the heavens
and their heads touch the clouds,
7 yet they will vanish forever, thrown away like their own dung.
Those who knew them will ask, ‘Where are they?’
8 They will fade like a dream and not be found.
They will vanish like a vision in the night.
9 Those who once saw them will see them no more.
Their families will never see them again.
10 Their children will beg from the poor,
for they must give back their stolen riches.
11 Though they are young, their bones will lie in the dust.

12 “They enjoyed the sweet taste of wickedness,
letting it melt under their tongue.
13 They savored it, holding it long in their mouths.
14 But suddenly the food in their bellies turns sour,
a poisonous venom in their stomach.
15 They will vomit the wealth they swallowed.
God won’t let them keep it down.
16 They will suck the poison of cobras.
The viper will kill them.
17 They will never again enjoy streams of olive oil
or rivers of milk and honey.
18 They will give back everything they worked for.
Their wealth will bring them no joy.
19 For they oppressed the poor and left them destitute.
They foreclosed on their homes.
20 They were always greedy and never satisfied.
Nothing remains of all the things they dreamed about.
21 Nothing is left after they finish gorging themselves.
Therefore, their prosperity will not endure.

22 “In the midst of plenty, they will run into trouble
and be overcome by misery.
23 May God give them a bellyful of trouble.
May God rain down his anger upon them.
24 When they try to escape an iron weapon,
a bronze-tipped arrow will pierce them.
25 The arrow is pulled from their back,
and the arrowhead glistens with blood.
The terrors of death are upon them.
26 Their treasures will be thrown into deepest darkness.
A wildfire will devour their goods, consuming all they have left.
27 The heavens will reveal their guilt,
and the earth will testify against them.
28 A flood will sweep away their house.
God’s anger will descend on them in torrents.
29 This is the reward that God gives the wicked.
It is the inheritance decreed by God.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I was driving to lunch today, and had my iPod on shuffle, and “isn’t she lovely?” by Stevie Wonder randomly came on. I normally click through my shuffle a bunch of times, but this time, I just drove and listened and smiled. and it wasn’t long before I concluded that this song has secretly been the theme song to my life and family for the last four years.

here are some of the lyrics:
“isn’t she lovely
isn’t she wonderful
isn’t she precious
less than one minute old
i never thought through love we’d be
making one as lovely as she
but isn’t she lovely made from love

isn’t she pretty
truly the angels best
boy, I’m so happy
we have been heaven blessed
i can’t believe what God has done
through us He’s given life to one
but isn’t she lovely made from love”

here is the audio from Stevie himself:
I love the harmonica
and the way he included his little girl’s voice on the track

Friday, October 10, 2008


i'm in sacramento with the student ministry team!
we stayed at judie's cabin, spit seeds, drank sweet tea, grilled steaks and shot bb's.
last night we went go-cart racing- crazy! i got to wear a racing suit and everything. it was super fun, although I think i was slowing everyone down.
i'm off to my first seminar!

Friday, October 3, 2008


here are some pictures that i have snapped with my camera phone on some of my recent walks in the neighborhood::

facebook high school part 2

i was thinking about my post from yesterday and started getting all paranoid. i was thinking, "there is a bunch of people on my facebook friends list that i barely even know! there are people on there that I haven't spoken to in over a decade! and since i've added them, they haven't typed a word to me! not only that, I'm sharing all kinds of things with them: like a link to this blog, and photos of my family, and my struggles with addictions to chocolate and caffeine, and my favorite U2 lyrics! i'm helping them stalk me!"

i was feeling a little too exposed.
so i deleted a bunch of people from facebook.
sorry long-lost friends!
its nothing personal,
if you want to be friends again, let me know.
and if we're still facebook-friends, its because we actually know each other-
or because we have actually interacted online in the last year.
i also cut out my links to other blogs on this site.
i use bloglines to keep up with all of you anyhow.

sounds paranoid
am i just weird?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

facebook makes me feel like i did when i was in high school

facebook makes me feel like I did when I was in high school.
there are people floating around the internet crowd:
many of them know me, but they don’t want to say hi.
or they know me,
but they pretend that they don’t
or act like they didn’t notice me there.
or I know them,
but don’t know if they want to talk to me again.
or they don't really care to be my friend,
but they want to know the latest about me.
I feel that I have to act cool online because people are silently watching
and silently making judgments about how I look, or what I say.
I felt the same way back in high school.
just when I found a sense of security as a grown up,
I get a facebook account
and relive all of those feelings of insecurity that I had as a teenager.
what's next?!
facebook cliques of cool kids that make fun of me behind my back?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Q: what's jane's favorite food?

A: fries:

and chicken!

from burger king of course!

church//gym: entry 14

its been a long time since I’ve posted a blog about the church//gym; its been a while since I’ve been to the gym! almost a week.

this morning I was riding the exercise bike, watching ESPN, listening to bono, and sweating. I got off of the bike and headed to the sit ups machine and I saw carol on the treadmill. carol is the lady who bugged my friend gary about his chest pains in front of everyone and then later asked him out on a date. she must have heard him say my name, because she has been greeting me by name recently. I don’t usually say much to anyone at the gym, but carol tricked me into revealing my secret identity. her trick: flattery.

I walked by and she said, “so, are you a full time student?”
she thought I was a college kid?!
I was so flustered and flattered that I sort of giggled and probably blushed.
in that moment of pride, I let go of my secret identity and said,
“I’m not a full time student! I’m a full time pastor!”
in some circles, a statement like that will get you laughed at.
in some, you’ll get no reaction at all.
but in a Pentecostal church, a statement like that means that everyone goes overboard with respect and dignity.
I never wanted that- that’s why I was keeping it quiet about my job.
carol said, “oh! where do you minister?”
I told her about the church and I said,
“thanks for thinking I was a student!”
and then she got me again.
she said, “well you’re so young!”
again, I was so flattered that I revealed more-
I said, “well, I’m a youth pastor!”

so I go into another room to work on some weights and then I come back out.
I walked up to carol- who was still on the treadmill, and said, “bye carol!”

all eyes landed on me.
there goes my anonymity.
i couldn't get out of there fast enough.

the application for church:
everyone has a secret identity that they are keeping from everyone else.
maybe its their past, maybe it’s a painful relationship, maybe its an addiction.
no one wants it broadcasted, but many long to reveal it to someone they trust.
how can we get someone to reveal their heart so that we can listen and care?
why not try carol’s way? use an encouraging word.
secret identities are powerless against a kind word or a compliment.